Bundshop Brings Chinese Design To The World

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by Nevena Rousseva

“Made in China is dead. Designed in China killed it.”

We are all familiar with “made in China”. From clothing and shoes, to houseware, to electronics, pretty much everything we use is made in China. Now a days when I check where a product is made I am usually surprised when it’s not made in China. Many of us, or at least me, are used to thinking of China as the manufacturer of the world, the “made in China” synonymous with products as consuming is synonymous with today’s world. But what about designed in China? Now that’s something new. There hasn’t been a website where we could explore Chinese design…that is until now.


Bundshop Crush Cashmere Dress

Crush Cashmere Dress


Introducing Bundshop,the Shanghai based, one-year old start-up company that brings Chinese design to the world. Bundshop came about after co-founders Diana Tsai and Stephany Zoo, realized they where surrounded by an untapped market of talented Chinese fashion and industrial designers. Out of this they developed Bundshop, the first online platform to feature higher end  “designed in China” products. The “bund” in Bundshop is the waterfront area in central Shanghai where ships enter and bring goods in and out of Shanghai. Diana and Stephany had the same idea for their start-up, in that they are opening the port for Chinese designers to “come out” of China and American consumers to “come in” and explore Chinese designs.


Bundshop RI By Carrie Leggings

RI By Carrie Leggings


Bundshop’s goal is not just to sell products, but to also tell the diverse stories behind each brand. Here is a sampling. The brand SoZen came about after a professor brought students to one of the oldest bamboo craftsman villages and saw old artisans who used to make baskets and decorative items for high-ranking individuals of the communist party. The craft was dying out and he felt heart-broken, so he created SoZen in order to fuse contemporary aesthetic with the ancient art form of bamboo weaving. This way he is able to bring Chinese aesthetic back to modern times and preserve an old Chinese craft.


SoZen Tall Vase

SoZen Vase


At NuoMi, Bonita Lin, the designer behind the luxury fashion label uses her company as a platform for social change. After meeting a four-year old child prostitute, she started working with disabled orphans and single mothers, teaching them not just to sew, but tangible skill like how to produce an entire line. Besides providing livelihoods for the underprivileged, the company also provides surgeries for handicapped orphans.

Nuomi Red Coat

NuoMi Coat


Most of these products are hand-made so quantities per items are very low. Like designer Mary H, who hand makes the bags she designs. Quantities per style are around three or four, because she doesn’t want her customers to walk down the street and see someone else carrying the same bag.


Bundshop Mary H Grape Brown Back Folded

Mary H bag


Featured designers are from cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hansol, as well as from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Most of the designers on Bundshop have classical Chinese backgrounds in painting and calligraphy, or engineering backgrounds such as mechanical and electrical. Only two designers have a formal design background that they acquired in foreign schools. “In the US, Europe, and Australia there are all these amazing design programs” explains Stephany, and until recently “that kind of education was not available in China.”


Bundshop John Meng Wine Bottle

John Meng wine bottle


The educational environment in China around design has been changing. “In the past 10 years the number of design programs in China has quadrupled” says Stephany “Today there is almost 400 programs in China alone with an estimated 10,000 designers graduating every year. The next couple of years will be the first tide of really Chinese designers that are coming out.”


Bundshop Guang Lu Pen Holder

Guang Lu pen holder


Bundshop is coming at the right time in China as more designers are starting to emerge. Many want  intentional exposure, but don’t know how to go about it. Stephany explains it like this, “The only way without Bundshop to get [international exposure] is by selling on Etsy, Ebay, or Amazon, and none of those sites are focused on artisan designers…and sites like Fab.com are more apprehensive to take Chinese designers.” Intellectual property is also a factor. When a designer grows to a certain point in China, intellectual property and copying become a major concern. Copying is so ubiquitous there, that some designers don’t market their designs because they are afraid of copying.



Bundshop Latitude22 Plate

Latitude 22 plate


Growing into international markets is one way to avoid the rampant copying. “If [designers] are able to grow in international markets first, they can get big and come back to China, and having to deal with intellectual property [issues] is not as big a deal” explains Stephany, elaborating that “In China there’s these cloning companies, and when you put any of your design on a website like Taobao, the Chinese version of Ebay you have about six months before a cloning company comes, picks up your design, mass manufactures it, and sells it for a quarter of what price you have.” Bundshop is giving emerging designer a way to grow internationally, where copying is frowned upon.


Bundshop Random Dsign T-shirt

Random Dsign t-shirt


At the end of February, Bundshop will launch the new invitation-only website that will feature a total of 50 designers. The site will be featuring one new product every 24 hours. Each designer will have their own designer boutique where a carefully chosen pieces will be available for sale after the 24 hour period is over. Designers will range from architectural, graphic and fashion, which will give a more comprehensive view of design in China.

Check them out!

One thought on “Bundshop Brings Chinese Design To The World

  1. Pingback: Exclusive BUNDSHOP Offer for Style and the Start-Up Readers |

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